Tuesday, August 31, 2010

Restoring Honor

I'm not a very good writer so as I try to spill out my thoughts on the rally this weekend, bear with me, I'm still trying to process it all. I need to get it down on paper before all these incredible emotions are gone from my memory.

About a year ago Glenn Beck announced that he was going to hold some sort of rally on the steps of the Lincoln Memorial. He was very vague in what it would be, as he didn't even know himself, but he asked everyone to join him there. I brushed it off but Trevor came home and put a bug in my ear that we should go. I continued to brush it off since I knew it would cost us money. Spare money that we are in short supply of, money that would be better used to pay off our debts, save or otherwise spend on things that seemed much more important then some rally in DC.

As the months wore on Glenn continued to mention his rally and Trevor continued to mention that we should be going. So I began to do some research. I looked into hotels and flights and was surprised to find a hotel, not far from the Lincoln Memorial, for a very reasonable price, I didn't have to pay up front so I booked it "just in case." I began to look at flights and was quickly discouraged by their prices. I continued to tell Trevor that I didn't think it was a good idea for us to go, we really couldn't afford it.

But then something happened and it wasn't until this weekend that I realized it had to be the hand of God. I logged into look at flights in March and about fell out of my chair when I found them for $99, per person. Still with some hesitation I called Trevor, we debated it for a few minutes before he laid down the law and said, "Get 'em, we're going!" And with the click of a mouse we had cheap tickets and a cheap (very lavish) hotel.

There is no way I would have agreed to go if we couldn't have gone this cheap. We're broke. We're doing the Dave Ramsey thing. We can't spend (waste?) our money on some trip that we don't really need. Oh how I would be proved wrong. But I firmly believe today that all those things, all those cheap deals happened for a reason. We were meant to be there. God wanted us there. He knew, and we knew, that it was important.

As the date approached little details started to emerge about what would happen at this rally. My Uncle Paul and cousin David decided to attend. And our excitement was growing. It seemed the country's excitement was growing as rumors of the number of people who could be there began to increase.

We arrived in DC on Thursday afternoon. We had a day and a half to tour the city before the rally. As we toured the White House, the Capitol, the Washington Monument, the Lincoln Memorial, the Archives and various other locations it became very apparent that there were MANY people in town for this rally. Everyone around us was going. Everyone! We quickly hatched a plan to secure our seats very early Saturday morning. We found out that the Metro did not run on Saturday morning from 3am to 7am. So we thought it would be a brilliant plan to ride the Metro down to the Lincoln Memorial before it closed at 3am.

I mean who needs sleep while your on vacation, without your kids? It's overrated.

So we tried to go to bed around 9pm Friday night. Neither of us did and I think we each slept maybe an hour or so before it was go time! Paul and David arrived in force from some camp ground outside DC on a no sleep road trip from Minnesota.

We arrived, in the dark, at the footsteps of Lincoln around 2:30am. We wandered through people sleeping on blankets, chairs and against the trees until we found a spot about 150 yards from the stage. We tried to sleep, we toured the World War II Memorial, we walked the steps of the Lincoln Memorial, we met and visited with a ton of fantastic people around us, we tried to stay warm...all before sunrise. Being down there, walking around like that, before the sun even came up was surreal. The energy and excitement down there is hard to explain and you can't even begin to imagine it unless you were there

We watched the sunrise. It was breathtaking. It was the dawn of a new day.

It was Morning in America!

I'm not sure I can portray the day well enough to give it justice. But I'll try. So please bear with me as I try and write this out in some coherent fashion. Glenn said the day would be full of miracles. Miracles had happened leading up to the event. Money coming in at the last minute, things falling into place just so, cheap airlines, cheap hotels, etc. They were all signs of God's work, they were all signs of His hand being placed over this event.

The rally began with a video series of pictures and music. It couldn't have been 13 seconds into that video when a group of 20 or so geese came flying from the World War II Memorial straight over the reflecting pool towards the Lincoln memorial, in their signature V shape. It was a fly over, not a military fly over, not one orchestrated by anyone on the ground, it was not planned. Or was it? Was it a coincidence? Was it a miracle Was it God? Whatever you choose to believe, I chose to believe it was the hand of God, it was breathtaking. It was fantastic.

It was the beginning of a 3 hour program that would change my life. I've never seen more people gathered in one space in my entire life. We were shoulder to shoulder. We were heart to heart. We were American to American. And we were stretched from literally the feet of Lincoln to the Washington Monument and probably beyond. We were packed in there like sardines. We met some incredible people. Like Dan and Ann. They left the beginning of August, on their motorcycles, from Oregon. You can read about their journey here. We met people from Florida, New York, Wisconsin, Pennsylvania, Georgia, Texas and many other states. Dads and sons, husbands and wives, grandmas and grandpas, moms and dads, brothers and sisters, moms and daughters. All sorts of people from all sorts of different backgrounds.

And it was hot. Really hot. And there wasn't an inch of shade on our side to be seen. And we were wearing black. (These pictures are deceiving because its cloudy but believe me, they parted and the hot blazing sun came out)

The rally had several themes. Faith, Hope, Charity, Integrity, Honor, Truth, to name a few. All principles that helped form this great country. All principles that can continue to make this country the greatest country on earth! And as I walked away from this rally I was struck with what felt like an insurmountable task of teaching our children all of these principles. Of bringing all this energy and excitement home to our kids, to our family and friends. And as I sit here today, 3 days later, I still don't know how we're going to do it. But I have faith that we will get there, that God will lead us, that the answers will come. And here is some of what I walked away with from the rally.

Faith –Our country was founded on God. When you read the history books, the text, the conversations of our founding fathers you realize what a enormous part God played in the foundation of our country. Unfortunately, many Americans don't have a full grasp of the important role of God in this country's foundation. And today, we've slipped even father away from those ideals and principles. At the top of the Washington Monument it is written “Laos Deo” which means, “Praise be to God.” It's time to get on our knees. It's time to let our children see us on our knees. Lead by example. Prayer is powerful. God answers our prayers. Prayer and faith in God will lead us and guide us and give us the answers and strength we need to raise our children the best we can, to make them the best citizens that we can and to make God the absolute center of their lives.

Charity – Give, Give, Give. Charity starts at home. We want to teach our children to give as much as they can, to always help those in need, to always be grateful, to never take for granted the things that you have. John Huntsman, founder of the Huntsman Cancer Institute (and inventor of the fast food carton) was honored at this rally. He's worth 3+ billion dollars and he has given away nearly ALL of it. He literally wants to die broke. That kind of graciousness is amazing. How do I teach that to my kids? I'm exploring those ideas now.

Honor– The main theme of the rally, Honor. We wore shirts (black, remember?) that stated, Restoring Honor Starts Here.” If I'm going to take part in Restoring Honor to this country then I eed to look to myself first. It starts in this house with me and my husband and our kids. We spent a lot of time honoring our troops. Most, if not all, Americans honor our troops. But we need to do more. These fine men and woman have protected the very freedoms God has bestowed on us, and they continue to ensure our freedoms, everyday. My kids need to understand that. It is our pledge to personally thank every solider we come across from now on. Lead by example. My children MUST understand the sacrifices that have been given for this country. The lives that have been lost and the blood that has been shed. Our troops deserve our forever gratefulness.

Truth - Always tell the truth. ALWAYS! No matter what. No matter what it will do to you. The truth matters and it's important. And once you start telling the truth in your own life then you can begin to expect the same thing from your friends and family, from your teachers to your pastors to your congressperson. Not even a little white lie. Just the truth, plain and simple. It sounds so easy. Most, if not all, parents insist that their children tell the truth, we are no different. But after this rally this seems to have taken on a whole different, deeper meaning. I'm still processing how I will bring this to my children. How to teach them the importance of telling the truth and how to expect nothing less from their parents, family and friends.

At the end of the rally we sang Amazing Grace, to the bagpipes. Estimates are still coming in but its thought that more than 500,000 people were there. 500,000 people singing Amazing Grace side by side! I'm still speechless. It was the most incredible, heart warming moment of my life. This rally changed our life. I'm so thankful for my husband's persistence in going. I'm so thankful I got to experience this with him, my uncle and my cousin. I'm thankful for every person that was there. I will be forever changed and I hope that my experience at this rally will change the lives of my children and their children. God Bless America!

All proceeds to the rally went to Special Operations Warrior Foundation. You can read about the amazing things they do right here on their site. If you feel compelled I'd ask you to make any donation you can to them, or any other charity for that matter.

For more pictures and videos of the rally please check here.

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